Chipotle has now experienced an equivalent drop in consumer perception as General Motors did in 2014 when it was accused of covering up ignition switch failures and issued large scale recalls.
The dining chain dropped to a new low in consumer perception, even after CEO and founder Steve Ells’ apologized last week on the Today show for the brand’s E. coli problems. That appearance occurred about 40 days after the initial outbreak.
Chipotle’s consumer perception was measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score, which asks respondents: “If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?"
A score can range from 100 to -100 with a zero score equaling a neutral position.
On November 1st, the day after the first E. coli reports made the news, Chipotle’s Buzz score was 8. On December 11th, the day after the CEO’s nationally-televised apology, the Buzz score reached -26. Chipotle’s Buzz score is now down to -40, equal to the same 48 point drop that GM took during its crisis.